EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE ADVOCATE GENERAL OPINION:
COMPUTER PROGRAM FUNCTIONALITY AND PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES CANNOT BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT
Seminar on 1 December at 16 00 at the Solvay Library in Brussels to discuss the case
Court of Justice Advocate General Yves Bot today delivered his Opinion on SAS Institute Inc. (SAS) v. World Programming Ltd (WPL), case C-406/10, favouring interoperability and rejecting SAS’s arguments.
The case will be discussed in depth by some of the world’s top experts on copyright at the ECIS seminar on Thursday, 1 December, in Brussels. Details are at the bottom of this email.
Bot answered the three big questions raised by the case and the answers favoured interoperability, just as a British court had done last year.
First, Bot said computer program functionality is not protected by copyright, because otherwise it “would amount to making it possible to monopolise ideas.”
Second, Bot said programming languages are not protected by copyright.
Finally, Bot said that a licensed user of a program can generally write code to connect to a rival program, even without the permission of the holder of the copyright.
A full 13-member Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice will now reach a decision taking into account Bot’s opinion. However, the decision of the full court may not follow the A-G’s opinion. The decision may be handed down some time in 2012.